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Racing Santander stand by boycott threat as Copa del Rey match suspended

Updated: Friday, 31 Jan 2014 09:04 | Comments

Racing coach Paco Fernandez: 'I want to thank my players for their bravery'
Racing coach Paco Fernandez: 'I want to thank my players for their bravery'

Racing Santander's Copa del Rey clash with Real Sociedad was suspended on Thursday evening after the home players refused to play, having not been paid for several months.

The Racing players released a joint statement on Monday announcing they would boycott the quarter-final second leg unless president Angel Lavin and his board stepped down.

That did not happen prior to kick-off and, although the home players turned up and completed their warm-up on Thursday, when the first whistle blew it soon became evident there would not be a contest.

Once Sociedad kicked off, the Racing players moved in and stood arm in arm around the centre circle, with substitutes and coaching staff lining up in solidarity on the touchline.

Sociedad passed the ball between themselves in their own half for a while before kicking it out for a throw-in, at which point the referee signalled that the match was suspended.

"We regret having to make this decision but we have done it out of respect to football"

Racing coach Paco Fernandez has expressed his gratitude for the support shown to his players.

"I want to say thank you for the show of support we've had," Fernandez said at his post-match press conference. "We feel touched.

"We regret having to make this decision but we have done it out of respect to football, the sport that we love, and to ourselves.

"I want to thank my players for their bravery. Today was the biggest game of our lives and we have done it for our dignity.

"Without the fans' support, today's decision would have been very difficult to take."

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